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App would streamline transit ticketing across cities

The newly announced Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance aims to ease the use of public transit in cities across the globe. (OMTA)

Upon landing at Incheon for the first time, you need to catch a train to Seoul. A quick check of the global ticketing app indicates that the next arrival is in five minutes. You make the purchase electronically and hop aboard — without ever queuing for an agent or reaching for a Korean phrasebook.

Nick Michell reports for Cities Today that this is the utopia imagined by the newly formed Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance (OMTA). The alliance envisions a world in which public-transit ticketing is seamless across cities, nations and continents. To achieve the goal, it’s designing an app that uses “open, interoperable standards” with payment vendors and transit systems, Michell writes.

Smartphones would do more than make purchases and display timetables. Handsets equipped with “near field communication technology” can double as tickets with a simple tap, the article says. Participants include a division of Nokia that specializes in mapping, navigation and location services and Verifone Mobile Money, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of mobile payment technology.

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